March 28, 2013 Subject:
What this clip tells us
...based on my reading on the state of prewar TV, that is:
- The picture tubes of that era were very dim. Add that to the differing frame rates and it must have been nearly impossible to film a broadcast. It must have been frowned upon anyway, because publicity about TV was tightly limited.
- NBC relied heavily on Gay 90s and other costume drama for its experimental programs. "Streets of New York," an 1870s play, is another example. The material was public domain, and the costumes gave visual interest that the bare bones program budget could not provide in any other way. (Even in "Streets" it is obvious the sets consist of ordinary office furniture and painted drops.)
With the speed corrected, a total of 11 minutes survives of silent excerpts from 1939 "The Streets of New York".
Other scenes (not included in this clip) in the surviving fragments show people entering the Lester Wallace Theatre to see the show (it was presented as a play-within-the-program), and a character setting fire to a house.
In any case, this little 1-minute excerpt from these fragments is worth seeing...NOW!